Yes, I too can finally mark Father’s Day. Took a while

I came out of the supermarket and was on my way to my parked car when suddenly I experienced one of those sharp intake of breath moments of the sort, if you are male, that is normal reserved for an excruciatingly attractive female crossing the line of vision.

But, that wasn’t the case this time. Under these circumstances it was a man sitting in the passenger seat of a parked car. I almost did a double-take because this guy looked, at first glimpse, exactly like my old man.

Closer scrutiny bore testimony to the fact it wasn’t my dad. Couldn’t have been as Dad has been dead since 1996. But, the moment did give me an almost disquieting turn.

Disquieting because in the immediate aftermath of the non-encounter I found myself disrupted, for want of a more apt word. I also felt sad. Actually quite sad. Sad primarily for what came and then left and things that can never now be addressed.

It was apt, I suppose, that this brief encounter came just a few days prior to Father’s Day – a manufactured holiday that during his lifetime I never paid a lot of attention to. Mainly because I didn’t believe that he deserved a lot of that old paternal attention.

That was because I didn’t like my dad much when I was a kid. I really didn’t like him at all when I was a teen (but this is the norm for adolescent boys in more cases than not), and I begrudged (is that a word?) him for too much of my adulthood.

In a way he deserved the antipathy because temperament-wise he was never an easy son of a bitch. Volatile of mood I never could be quite certain where he would be. Also highly controlling, impatient, and intolerant of my wants and needs. Wants and needs that ‘I’, being the person with said wants and needs believed to be non-negotiable.

And his temperament, much like somebody pissing in a wine vat, tended to pollute the vintage of our relationship.

It was only later, when I learned a few home truths, and came to a few realizations that I started to understand where he was coming from – just a little bit.

Raised also by a tyrannical father, he could only deal out what he understood. He was also married to a chronic alcoholic wife who was arguably the most self-indulgent person I’ve ever known. Good old Mumsy could have turned a saint unsaintly. Not that she was irredeemably awful, just that she was ever-changing, like most drunks in that regard.

It was only when it was nearly too late that I came to understand the good things he gave me, such as:

–         a respect for hard work.

–         Determination.

–         The need for a good education.

–         Being honorable in all that I do.

–         Good manners.

–         An ability to stand up for myself.

–         Familial support while I completed my education, and encouragement that I must indeed complete my education.

–         Probably more love than he was ever able to overtly show, but did indeed show in other ways.

I remember once when I was about 14 that my mother went away to stay with a sister for a week. Just Dad and me alone. I was wary of what that would be like. What it was like was actually just terrific. Two bachelor guys under the roof. We kidded around, prepared crappy meals, went out for other crappy meals, and just enjoyed ourselves. The day ‘herself’ was returning it all changed and went to hell, and her returned to his default prickish self.

If I’d been smart I would have been able to figure out what that was all about. But I guess I was too young to ‘get it’. Too bad.

But, by the end of his life a lot of this stuff had been resolved in my mind.

And that was why, when I saw his doppelganger the other day I just felt kind of sad because I finally had realized I miss him.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad.

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16 responses to “Yes, I too can finally mark Father’s Day. Took a while

  1. oh ian.. this puts me in touch with so many of my own feelings.. feelings i cannot openly express,, but do so in my poetry.. thank you for sharing.. i don’t feel so alone now.. xxoo

  2. I know several people with similar stories. Sad, but, in most cases resolved. I’m glad you’re more peaceful about your past.
    Now go and play ball with Max! 🙂

  3. I’m so glad you found peace with who your father was and what your relationship was. That had to have filled a a spot in your soul.

  4. His true self was revealed: “Two bachelor guys under the roof.” And a son who recognized (at whatever stage of life) the good qualities he would’ve wanted in his children. {hugs}

  5. Ian, you said so eloquently the words that many of us (men and women) carry in our hearts. It is good to be able to look at the “gifts” our parents gave us while we were growing up. Sometimes it is difficult to understand where they were “coming from” but in the long run, well worth the effort. Peace of heart, peace of mind…I hope my children do the same. A good day to all you fellows out there and special hugs to you Ian…

  6. Nice post, Ian. You’ve made me feel that I should also give some thought to my own father this weekend, the one I feared my whole life and at whose funeral I didn’t cry. I am well aware of his many gifts to me, some of them genetic, and I do wish that he were alive so we could actually talk as equals. He died when I was 26 and I don’t know if he would ever have grown to like and approve of me, but I think I would be able to handle him now.

  7. Oh, I am so with Jodi. Thank you, Ian. Hard to express, but the emotion is mixed and deep.

  8. Lovely post Ian.

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